At the DC Nation panel at the Baltimore Comic-Con, DC Co-publisher Dan DiDio came out going “off script,” and it was not to comment on who should play Captain Marvel. He addressed the Batwoman controversy, saying he had been offline when it happened but was now up to speed and continuing, on how DC had been committed to making one of their major characters gay from when they announced Batwoman, and reiterating how they had stood by the character in spite of opposition. But he went on to say that “Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.”

“That’s very important and something we reinforced,” he continued. ‘People in the Bat family their personal lives basically suck. Dick Grayson, rest in peace—oops shouldn’t have said that,—Bruce Wayne, Tim Drake, Barbara Gordon and Kathy Kane. It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”

He stands behind their gay characters 100%, he added, “Name one other publisher out there who stands behind their gay characters the way we do. We put her in the book the company was named after, and the series will continue better than ever with new writer Marc Andreyko.” DiDio said Andreyko—an openly gay writer who is known for an acclaimed run Manhunter and the more recent The Ferryman at Image— will start with issue #25. No word on the artist yet.

After making this statement, DiDio left the panel and sat in the audience a few seats from where this is being typed.

The DC Nation panel continued with EIC Bob Harras, Jimmy Palmiotti, Joe Prado, David Finch, Ivan Reis, Charles Soule, Robert Venditti, David Finch and Amanda Conner.

Soule and Venditti went on at length on the Green Lantern books they are writing, leading up to Lights Out, the next eventish thing happening. It’s like the Sons of Anarchy or The Shield in space with Guy Gardner and Dex-Starr, said Soule of Red Lantern. Harras praised Soule and Venditti for being a real team on the Lantern franchise and having a ton of ideas. “It’s in good hands.”

Soule says that Dr. Light is the villain of Lights Out, and it goes to “amazing places where I can’t believe we can go.”

“It’s not a safe story,” said Venditti as they are coming up with new Lanterns and so on. The big moments evolve out of the events, and they are not afraid to go there when it happens. Van Jensen is the third member of the Lantern team and Soule mentioned that all three of them form a team.

Soule talks a bit about Arcane in the Swamp Thing villain month issue. “This is one of the creepiest things I’ve ever written I finished it at 1 in the morning and couldn’t sleep afterwards.”

Swamp Thing has been building up to a big confrontation with Seer, a guy who has Swamp Thing’s powers, sort of. “He’s evil Johnny Appleseed.” He planted an evil whiskey tree in a small town in Scotland where everyone went crazy, for instance.

Jimmy Palmiotti is up next and talks about Harley Quinn, which is the character “daydreaming about what it would be like to have various artists draw her.” from Darwyn Cooke and Conner to a new artist. “It’s her imagining these adventures, and also breaking the fourth wall. The humor goes all over the place,” like Looney Toons, he says.

“My problem with the book is that Jimmy keeps coming up with wonderful ideas and I want to draw them” sayd Conner. “But I have to stick with covers!” In the first issue Harley Quinn moves to Coney Island and lives above a freak show, she inherits it from an old patient.”

“With that inheritance she also inherits 1000 problems,” says Palmiotti. “Harley has to make rent every month and tries out different jobs, like maybe the Roller Derby. The theme of the book is insanity.” Chad Harden is the regular artist. “We picked him because he has the flavor.”

In All-Star Western, Jonah Hex is running around the modern world and will be doing modern things like going to the Burning Man, meeting Constantine and going a little more crazy after that.

Palmiotti went on to talk about Mr Freeze, which resulted in him imitating the Arnold Schwarzenegger version of the character. “Effreebahdy Freeze.” You had to be there. “It delivers everything you wanted to know about Freeze and gives you a new appreciation for the motivation of the villain.”

Palmiotti went on to talk about Batwing and showed a few explosions. “Comic books love explosions,” he finished.


  1. So now DC characters live their lives ala Peter Parker? Taking even more lessons from One More Day then I see. And now I really fear for Aquaman.

    Asides from that, Andreyko on Batwoman is a great move. I’m very curious to see who’s going to do the art.

  2. Another “creator” moves head in corp. comics over the remains of his precdecessors. I have no respect for anyone who works for the big 2. Keep sucking soon you can take your place at Didio’s teet.

  3. You’ll notice Dido said nothing about repeated inconsistent last-minute editorial changes – i.e. the thing that Williams and Blackman said was the reason they were leaving. And why should he? Everyone’s too busy shouting about how DC hates gay people (no they don’t) or how DC hates marriage (they might, but that’s a symptom, not a cause).

    So well done, Social Justice Warriors of the Internet! Once again you’ve completely failed to solve an actual problem that was right there in front of your eyes, because you only have the one hammer, and dammit, everything you see WILL be a nail whether it likes it or not.

  4. I need to correct apparently the Peter Parker (no outside life) is restricted to the Bat family only. Still say that’s ridiculous.

  5. And don’t get me started on the fans of a character who’s central concept is “Insane criminal in physically and mentally abusive relationship with genocidal manic, and it’s funny” suddenly being shocked! and appalled! that someone’s put her in a joke involving nudity and suicide. I don’t agree with a lot of DC’s editorial decisions or behaviour, but if I were Dan Dido I wouldn’t listen to half these prats either.

  6. HAAAAAAAAAAAAH! DC has no idea what they’re doing. I really hope that whenever DiDio leaves (SOONER RATHER THAN LATER, PLEASE) his replacement will do some serious house cleaning.

  7. Blackman, Sept. 4: “we’ve decided to leave the book after Issue 26”

    DiDio, Sept. 7: “[Andreyko] is so excited about taking on this series […] that we are putting him on with issue 25”


  8. Why do I get the sad feeling that DC corporate had Andreyko’s name in a file somewhere just in case they pissed off the gay community? Maybe they had binders full of gay writers .

    Andreyko is a fantastic scribe and certainly a sensible person to write Batwoman. Not because he is gay, that would be as dumb and stereotypical as saying Simone is a woman and redhead so she should stick to writing those characters. In Manhunter he worked on Chase and the DEO who Kate works with.

    Yet for him to replace writers whose were rejected from the book because editorial doesn’t want a gay marriage stinks. It doesn’t matter if the reason is because they don’t want anyone happy or any marriage.

    I am trying to amass all the ways that is total bs.

    One, you could easily say that as a smoke screen to cover up DC corporate actually being opposed or frightened of the backlash of a gay wedding. Something that Arcie, Marvel, and even DC’s Wildstorm have all done in the past decade.

    Two, since when is marriage automatically happy? Heaven forbid writers add complexity much as marriage to a story. Hell, how is a cop who is a higher up in a police force marrying a vigilante anything but a world of trouble for all involved? How far up his ass is Didio’s head to not see that plain as day fact. Where is his jump to conclusions mat made of absolute total bullcrap? And let’s use some basic logic to show how full of bs and hypocrisy Didio is. If being married is instant happiness and happiness is bad for DC Characters… when why is Aquaman married? Oh wait.. DC is now saying he’s not and never has been. They’ve also always been at war with Oceana.

    And speaking of nonsensical editorial ideas stinking up DC characters, yeah, why is DC the House of Misery? If you wear the Bat logo.. or.. hell.. if you have that stupid bandage DC logo on your book.. you cannot have a single moment of happiness? You are made to suffer. It is your lot in life. One issue or page of happiness of a wedding where a couple gets married even though that marriage would logically be nothing but a life full of stress and misery soon after? Naw. Can’t have even a glimmer of hope at DC. You know, no matter how many times the word hope was said in the 9-11 porn snuff film known as Man of Steel. You cannot actually have people be hopeful in DC Comics stories. Of course not.

    In short,

  9. @ magical Trevor
    It’s not Didio alone that has to leave. There are tons are rats who have commandeered this sinking ship.

    I would love to see DC fire a ton of these manchildren and somehow woo back Karen Berger to be in charge of all of DC Comics and Vertigo. Yet I don’t see anyone at Warners having the sense to do that.

  10. [Didio] It’s wonderful that they try to establish personal lives, but it’s equally important that they set them aside. That is our mandate, that is our edict and that is our stand.”

    In other words, comics are for kids. If the heroes are never going to have personal lives, then a reader is never going to experience them being written as people.

    Back in the ’60s, I watched Scooby-Doo and the gang for a while, but I stopped when I figured out that they were never going to encounter an actual monster. The monster was always going to be a guy in a costume. Knowing how a situation is going to be resolved whenever it arises becomes boring very, very quickly.


  11. “Name one other publisher out there who stands behind their gay characters the way we do”

    Ok, I’ll name Archie, that’s obvious.

    Still I am an enormous fan of Andreyko and I look forward to him doing the best work possible under the current DC regime.

  12. I saw Dan Didio at a DC panel in 2008, I never would have thought such a man would get this much deserved scorn. Let me be honest, heroes shouldn’t be happy in their personal lives and should only be miserable? This is the most asinine logic that I’ve heard in a long time. If this were how most other shows involving cops or firemen were to be executed I can only imagine several episodes of them killing themselves. Aquaman, Superman, all three Flashes, and Alan Scott aren’t married because of an idiotic editorial mandate stating they must be miserable in their private lives, stupid. I can’t wait for the day this peanut head and all his cronies leave, I’ll actually get to enjoy DC comics more. This entire new 52 has been an unmitigated disaster

  13. These are DC’s number for July:
    6 months: + 8.3%
    1 year : + 1.7%
    2 years : + 31.6%
    5 years : + 25.4%
    10 years: + 32.4%

    Please note that those 10 year numbers are before DiDio was put into an upper management level at DC. All you people waiting for DiDio to be fired are in for a long long long wait.

  14. Much love for Mr. Andreyko’s work and wishing him the best on this run, but no. $4 a pop is far too much to ask when what’s on the menu is static, miserable characters. Tsh. I can look into the cubicle across the way if I’m feeling the need for that.

  15. Personal lives of heroes must be unhappy? Looks like Maggie Sawyer is being measured for a fridge.

  16. “These are DC’s number for July:…”

    …which are only guess estimates, and not true numbers, except for rubes like you.

  17. I honestly don’t get why anyone expects anything good from corporate superhero comics. If your favorite character is Batwoman and you want to read Batwoman stories, cool, knock yourself out. But can anyone be surprised when DC screws up those comics? There’s an entire site called Has DC Done Something Stupid Today and they can barely keep up with DC’s antics.

    Want a publisher who stands behind LGBT characters? Fantagraphics. Someone mentioned Archie. It’s really not that hard. It’s probably harder to find comic publishers who torment their women and LGBT characters.

  18. @Erik Scott

    That’s just looking at one month. One month that was really, really good to DC. I could just as easily point to April’s numbers and say that sales were on a slow decline:

    6 months: – 9.1%
    1 year : – 4.5%
    2 years : + 16.6%
    5 years : + 6.6%
    10 years: + 15.9%

    Looking at other months isn’t very optimistic either. Yes, they mostly have increased sales but I don’t think it’s been drastic enough to warrant saying DiDio is untouchable.

    DC seems largely more interested in increasing sales fast through gimmicks and variants instead of telling stories that are going to last the test of time. If they continue to burn these bridges with writers and artists, these gimmicks are only going to last so long before even more readers just start giving up and not caring.

    That said, I loved “Manhunter” and I wish Andreyko success on “Batwoman.”

  19. 2 years : + 16.6%
    5 years : + 6.6%
    10 years: + 15.9%

    These are the April Numbers that matter. And they still show, big picture, big increases during which the large majority of time the US has been in a recession. I would say these numbers pretty much do say he’s untouchable at this point in time.

    @KET – call me a rube all you want and yes the numbers are estimates, but it shows trend. Arguments are often made that the estimates underestimate the real numbers as it doesn’t factor in international numbers. So the percentages, which also do not include digital, are likely much more then this. I realize you have this vendetta against DC that you constantly rail against me being a corporate shill, or someone who needs his Superman comics no matter what, or now a rube, but your blindness to actually statistics versus your constant need to trumpet the evilness that is the DiDio regime is verging on comedic now.

  20. @Erik Scott Man seriously take an economics class once in your life before you talk about sales figures. 15.9% sales growth sucks for 10 years. You cannot look at a percentage gain over a timeframe without annualizing the figure. 15.9% over 10 years is 1.48% sales growth, anemic and well behind the rate of inflation. Unless you were running a family business you should considering killing yourself or finding a new job. Seriously if I told 100% growth! Would you be impressed? Then I told over 50 years, sound good? It’s 1.38% close to where DC’s 10 years number is. Double your business is 50 years shitty, very shitty.

  21. @Erik Scott One more thing just to dumb this down a little more. If you were investing in this company you could expect a 1.5% return on your money (not really it would be worse but just for fun let’s pretend). You probably should consider keeping your money in the bank and or buying a CD. I eagerly await the Comics are doing growth comments! Really the business is growing…. Digital sales?

  22. I love how DC tried changing the discussion from running off an Eisner winning team to the book needing fresh, new energy or whatever.

  23. Whatever – while I mostly agree with your rebuttal, I would point out that while 1.5 % percent as a return on investment ain’t great, but that assumes that other sections of DC’s business are doing the same. While I thought it was a real piece of shit, Man of Steel made a fuck ton of money, and I’m sure every time DC Direct does one of their highly generic Batman statues, they make a better return than the periodicals do.

  24. @Erik Scott
    Again, you can pick and choose what you want to see from any given month. March 2004, 2006 and 2007 sold higher averages than March 2013:

    6 years : – 4.9%
    7 years : – 14.6%
    9 years : – 5.8%

  25. @Whatever — Actually, most companies aim for a 10% CAGR over a full strategic planning period (anywhere from 5-10 years), and the individual years in that period would show similar peaks and valleys to what you’re seeing here from DC periodical sales (double-digit growth one year, single digit growth the next year, etc.).

    Also, these sales numbers are very fuzzy estimates, not actuals, and they don’t reflect operating income, just unit sales. DC’s OI from periodical sales may be a much higher growth percentage depending on their profit margins for each book, which may be pretty roomy.

    Another also, even if you take these estimates as gospel, it’s only one slice of DC’s business, not including graphic novel sales, sales to newsstands and libraries and Wal-Mart, and it says nothing about licensed book and product sales. It’s safe to say that, even with an economics class under your belt, you just can’t armchair quarterback a DC investor’s gains or losses from reading this column.

    And I’m not sure why any of that is even relevant to a blog post about how the company manages its creative teams.

  26. Okay, I”m a big fan of DC Comics, but this is just ridiculous . . .

    ““Heroes shouldn’t have happy personal lives. They are committed to being that person and committed to defending others at the sacrifice of their own personal interests.” – Dan Didio, DC Comics co-publisher

    Say what?!?!?!? So DC is saying that if you do the right thing, if you help others, if you put other’s interests in front of your own . . . you CAN NEVER BE HAPPY!?!?!? That’s crazy, and runs counter to almost every social study ever written about helping others.

  27. 1) Marvel dominated DC by adding realism to their stories. The Fantastic Four’s theme of “family” has been the bedrock of most of their stories. (And how awesome was their wedding?!)

    2) Nightwing’s recent storyline with Haley’s circus, and the smoldering old flame (as well as the professional relationship with his financial advisor) made for an interesting story.

    3) If you can’t have marriage, you certainly can’t have family as well. It’s the same dynamic. Same goes for friends. You might as well say there’s no social life afforded heroes. No sex life either. (Yeah, Bats, you should get snipped.)

    Which means, you don’t need secret identities. Then, it’s just people in costumes beating up other people in costumes, and while I enjoy the occasional Boring Superman or Finger Batman story, it gets repetitive.

  28. @jesse post
    I agree with you regarding the relevance of sales growth for this post, however Erik is saying these sales figures make Didio impervious. They do not. Secondarily this growth number being used is not CAGR, it’s not compounded, it’s a straight-line calculation. 1.5% average annual sales growth is pathetic and a dying patient vs. inflation.

  29. I think the new team ought to propose a civil union for Batwoman. A non-jurisdictional marriage (say Coast City? the progressive country of Kahndaq? Markovia? Kooey Kooey Kooey?) that isn’t currently recognized within Gotham City?

    I mean if anti-marriage is going to be the line, there’s ways to tell a story and meet the policy.

    Talk about our hero suffering and sacrificing, facing the fact that their marriage no longer is legally valid will attack Batwoman’s psyche nearly more than anything the Joker could do to her.

    Silly but True

  30. As dreary as possible! They want to shoehorn characters into the stupidest constraints. Lets’s see they don’t age, can’t die, can’t get married and cannot lose fights. There is absolutely no reason to read superheroes.

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